A Barbourville man was arrested after he reportedly used a phrase referencing Black Lives Matter protests before striking a black male on a bicycle with his Ford Mustang.
Steven Mills, 18, was charged with driving under the influence, first degree wanton endangerment, reckless driving, and first degree assault.
Barbourville Police Officers Hunter Luttrell and Chase Henson responded to an incident at Union Plaza Shopping Center around 1 a.m. Sunday, July 19 involving a pedestrian and a vehicle. The victim was found lying in the parking lot unable to move his neck and foot. He stated he was in substantial pain and that his head was hurting. The victim was unable to provide basic information at the time.
Mills, who was parked in the next lane over, stated he was the one who struck the man. Witnesses told police someone in the crowd shouted “give it a go” to Mills, which he acknowledged. Mills stated the saying was for him to perform a burnout.
Mills made the statement “yeah, Mustangs are crowd control.” He added he made the statement in regards to recent Black Lives Matter protests and that it was a common internet joke. Mills stated he then went into the next row and struck the victim who was riding his bicycle.
Mills advised Henson that he was aware of the crowd of people in the parking lane. He was noted as showing signs of impairment and stated there was marijuana in his system. Mills stated that “a couple days ago someone had smoked marijuana around him and that’s what caused the signs of impairment.” The police report notes Mills had blood shot eyes and was slow to respond. He also staggered and failed to do as he was instructed during a field sobriety test.
Mills submitted to a blood test at Barbourville ARH Hospital and did not wish to speak with a lawyer at the time. He was then taken back to the Barbourville Police Department where he was read Miranda rights and gave a statement before being lodged in the Knox County Detention Center, where he was held on a $10,000 bond before being released the next day after making bond.
Officer Henson is in charge of the ongoing investigation.